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Helping Your Parent Navigate Medicare

Guide them toward the coverage they need for peace of mind

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Do you have a parent or loved one reaching the age when they’re eligible for Medicare? If they are 65 or older, this is an important time of year. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs now through December 7, 2022. This is the time when those eligible for Medicare can enroll or make changes to their Medicare coverage.  

The process can be confusing, and the choices overwhelming. Whether they are selecting a plan for the first time, or evaluating how well their current one meets their needs, they may need your support.  

Here are the basics. 

First, Enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) 

Most people become eligible for Medicare at age 65 and your initial enrollment period is 7 months. It includes the month you turn 65, the 3 months before and the 3 months after. Parts A and B are provided by the federal government.  

Part A helps pay for inpatient hospital stays and care. Part B helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care. 

Next, Consider Additional Medicare-Related Options  

Many people choose additional coverage by enrolling in a private Medicare plan offered by a private insurance company.  
Option 1:  A Medicare Advantage (Part C) is an all-in-one plan that combines Original Medicare Parts A & B coverage.  

A Medicare Advantage plan may also include prescription drug coverage (Part D). Also, plans may offer additional benefits like vision, hearing, and dental coverage. 

Option 2: A Medicare supplement insurance plan (Medigap) is an option for those enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). 

And, you can get a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D) for more coverage.  

Here are a few additional considerations when deciding on a plan.  

1. Out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, like prescriptions, deductibles, copays, planned surgeries, and any outpatient care. The Medicare plan you choose may help to reduce some of these costs. Think about last year’s expenses and expected expenses in the year ahead.

2. Not all Medicare plans offer the freedom to choose any doctor, particularly specialists for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis.   

3. For hearing loss, it’s important to know that Original Medicare will pay for a diagnostic hearing exam, but it won’t cover the cost for hearing aids or exams to fit hearing aids. Many Medicare Advantage plans, however, do provide this coverage.  

Take the time to help your parent or loved one understand their Medicare coverage options before December 7. Explore and compare the benefits, services and costs of each plan, so together you can find what will work best for their needs.  

Click here for resources to help make confident choices about Medicare plans.

Plans are insured or covered by a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and/or a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. 

UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP.  AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. You do not need to be an AARP member to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan. 

AARP encourages you to consider your needs when selecting products and does not make specific product recommendations for individuals. 

Benefits, features and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply. 

Follow Article Topics: Health